A Good Day for Soup

Last night a friend said that today, it will feel like a fire hose has been turned on us.  Indeed it does.  And what a perfect day it is for a hearty soup.  On a day like today, even our dog snuggles in a little tighter, knowing perhaps his chances of a long walk are waning.  Every so often, he looks up and eyes me as if to say, are you made of sugar?  But I am more interested in breaking out my stock pot and stewing up a soothing stock and eventually, a hearty seafood soup.

For the stock:
2 lbs Chicken breast bones
1 lb pork neck bones
2 large dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 small onion, quartered
1, 2" piece of ginger, sliced into 3 pieces and smashed
2 whole scallions
1/4 cup rice wine
3 quarts water

In a large stock pot, over medium high heat, add about a tbsp of oil and brown all the bones.  Do this in batches.  Add in onion, ginger and scallions.  Return all bones to pot, deglaze with rice wine, and add in water and shiitake mushrooms.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to low and continue to simmer for 2 hours.
Let stock cool a bit and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.

For the soup:
6 cups stock (keep the remaining from above for another use)
1/2 lb live Manila clams
1/3 lb white prawns, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1/2 pieces
1/2 lb black cod, skin removed, and cut into 1/2" square pieces
4" x 4" piece of soft tofu, cut into 1/2" square pieces
1 egg white, beaten
2 tsp rice wine
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp light soy sauce
fresh cilantro to taste

Combine the egg white, rice wine and corn starch and mix well.  Add in prawns and cod and gently stir to coat them.  Bring stock to a boil over medium heat and add in tofu and soy sauce and let simmer for one minute.  Drain any excess liquid from the prawns and cod.  Add clams to the soup, bring back to a simmer, then carefully add in the prawns and cod.  Let simmer for another minute or so.  Add salt as needed.  Serve immediately with cilantro to garnish.

I always love the initial reaction my kids have to some foods.  Tonight, it went from a skeptical, what's this, to wow, this is good.  Tasty morsels swimming in rich broth.  A good day for soup!


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